ESSIM: Eastern Scotian Shelf Integrated Management Plan

by Samantha Dutka, Roger Hunka, and Joshua McNeely

A case study of and Integrated Marine Coastal Area Management Plan, or Large Oceans Management Area, the Eastern Scotian Shelf Integrated Management Plan (ESSIM) in Atlantic Canada, which included over ten years of stakeholder involvement to develop from concept to final draft plan, involving multiple diverse users and interests in a highly public and competitive ocean space area, with several unresolved jurisdictional issues, in a country surrounded by three oceans, became victim to a “lack of leadership for implementation”.

This study reveals the depth of citizens and users interests, involvement and ownership of the plan within a transparent public process. Sadly, since the area had low national government priority, the ESSIM plan is allowed to languish without Government leadership for its implementation. This situation is contrasted at end, by comparison to a more recent LOMA, the Beaufort Sea Plan, less than four years from development to approval and implementation in the Arctic Ocean. BSP had the advantage of clear central government, and involves fewer stakeholders, jurisdictions, and competing interests for ocean space, and ocean uses.

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